Young farmers gain a farm, community gains affordable local food

When Gus Griffin and Mollie Podmore of Glinnis Hill Farm put down roots in Northfield Vermont, the biggest surprise was how supportive the community was. Neighbors shared their time, knowledge, and even equipment.

The young farmers were grateful. Gus had worked for several farms, and Mollie had a great farm mentor in Oregon. But Glinnis Hill Farm, right on the border between Berlin and Northfield, was a new operation whose land and buildings had seen better days.

“It’s just the two of us,” said Mollie. “We make the big decisions and do the field work together.”

The challenges of affording a farm in Vermont

The path to farm ownership also required support. When Mollie and Gus found the 200+ acre parcel on the market, they worked with the Intervale Center’s Beginner Farmer Program to develop a solid business plan. They then joined with Gus’s parents and VLT to buy and conserve the land.

“Land ownership is a really big barrier, but with support like we got from VLT it can be possible,” said Gus. “There’s just no way it would have happened without the land trust buying the [conservation] easement from us.”

The farm has 120 acres of woods and 60 acres of pasture. It also has land along Cox Brook, a tributary of the Dog River. “It’s a really special and incredibly beautiful place, with something magical about it,” said Gus.

Long distance shot of farm with barn and hoop-houses growing vegetables. Berlin Vermont. Glinnis Hill Farm

Affordable local food for everyone

Gus and Mollie welcomed the help they got in starting Glinnis Hill Farm. Now, they extend support to others in the community.

Members of their sliding-scale CSA pay anywhere from $0 to $900 to select fresh vegetables from their stand at the Capital City Montpelier Farmers’ Market or from the farm itself.

“We really wanted to be able to grow veggies for everyone. To be able to have our farm align with our values was really important,” said Gus.

Each year Gus and Mollie work to raise money from the community so they can offer free CSA shares to those in need the following summer. In 2022, they raised enough to fully support seven shared for the summer of 2023.

Their fundraising efforts have included a benefit concert at the farm to supplement the cost of the CSA for all members, helping to offer affordable local food for everyone.

“It’s beneficial for everyone in the community if everyone in the community is well fed,” said Gus.

How to buy from Glinnis Hill Farm

Visit them at the year-round farmers’ market in Montpelier. Or contact them to ask about visiting their farmstand.